Summer 2014

Summer 2014

The editors of the drb, who are on a short break, hope everyone is enjoying the summer. The next issue will be at the beginning of September. There will be an expanded New Books section and fourteen review essays on subjects including Terry Eagleton's opinion on the strength of religious appeal over that of competing systems in the post enlightenment world, the greatest famine ever in communist China, the life of John Burnside, the Catholic elite in Ireland and other topics.

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One City, Many Voices

One City, Many Voices

Lucy Collins

A new collection confines itself to poems about the city of Dublin but does not lack breadth or variety, spanning the centuries, including outsider as well as insider perspectives, and placing the old in dialogue with the new.

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The Rich Man in his Castle

The Rich Man in his Castle

Sean Byrne

 Few now believe that the positions of the high and the lowly are ordained by God, but the increasingly entrenched political defenders of the super-rich still maintain that massive inequality is in the nature of things and must at all costs be preserved. As Gore Vidal said and Thomas Piketty’s study confirms, it’s not enough to succeed - others must fail.

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The Restoration Drama

John Feehan

Nature is beyond our control, and lost ecosystems cannot be fully recovered. Yet our own survival depends on how we deal with questions of environmental conservation and restoration – and there are reasons for optimism, despite the reality of climate change and the scale of the problem.

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Complications

Seamus O’Mahony

Surgery, and perhaps particularly neurosurgery, can be profoundly rewarding. But there is always the possibility of mistakes, those little slips that can lead to disaster and another headstone in the cemetery that all surgeons carry around with them.

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A Month in the Summer

Dermot Meleady

In the midsummer of 1914, Ireland’s nationalist and unionist communities were on a collision course over developments affecting the future government of Ireland. Just as the crisis was about to materialise in violence, it was averted – for the moment – by a larger conflict.

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Out on the Edge

Terry Barry

The people known as the Normans flourished in many parts of Europe in the early centuries of the second millennium AD. Their castles and fortifications are found as far west as Ireland, as far south as southern Italy and Sicily and as far east as Antioch.

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Joyce’s Comic Strips

Keith Payne

A well-drawn portrait of our greatest artist that recounts some of the adventures of his life and work might be just the thing to perk up the days and weeks beyond Bloomsday, when, as like as not, rain could well again be general over Ireland.

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The Modernist Moment

Tom Hennigan

Brazil, in the mid-twentieth century, saw a spectacular flourishing of architecture and town planning, associated with names like Niemeyer and Costa. But since then chaos and venality have returned, with builders rather than architects in the driving seat and recent hopes that the World Cup could be a game-changer disappointed.

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The People’s Music

Jeremy Kearney

The British folk music scene began to thrive through its extensive club circuit in the 1950s and gave a platform to many Irish singers. It was seldom without tension, however, between purists like Ewan MacColl and others who put greater stress on enjoyment.

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Thinking Deep

John Bradley

An academic discipline based on idealised economic systems which permit the application of a great deal of theoretical sophistication has produced cohorts of graduates with little knowledge of history or the real world. These idiot savants can manipulate mathematical models but have little to contribute to actual business practice or economic management.

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Who Fears to Speak of ’99?

Jim Smyth

What would have happened if General Cornwallis had been sent to Ireland a year earlier? Certainly repression would have been less, though perhaps the revolution would have happened anyway, though somewhat later, and while it would probably also have failed then it might have done so in interesting ways.

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The Tick of Reason

Hugh Gough

Voltaire offended the Calvinists of Geneva, ‘the Protestant Rome’, by criticising its austere lifestyle and setting up a theatre on its outskirts. A new book argues that the city eventually gave birth to a ‘reasonable Calvinism’ but we should be careful to remember the limits of any such apparent thaw in biblical fundamentalism.

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Homo Ludens

Paul Rouse

Sport may change over time, and individual sports come and go, but the essential remains, for this mundane activity also offers us a brief snatch at transendence, the moment arising out of chaos when all your teammates occupy ideal positions, when the universe seems to be arranged by a meaningful will that is not yours.

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The Quintessence of the Balkans

Maria Falina

A brave and admirable attempt to explain the history of a little known part of an often misunderstood region is rendered problematic by the sheer complexity of the subject matter, with its multiple identities, contending occupying forces, obscure motivations and often complex loyalties.

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Freedom Smells Like French Perfume

Angela Nagle

Many feminists abhor Femen for its naked protests and apparent acceptance of conventional or trashy ideas of beauty, but there is also a more basic clash at work here between a direct confrontation with injustice and a new feminism which finds itself too embarrassed to oppose non-Western or Islamic forms of oppression of girls and women.

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A Crowded Stage, an Empty Room

Connal Parr

Contrary to popular opinion, there has in fact been a working class Protestant contribution to culture in Northern Ireland. What is more problematic is a specifically Loyalist contribution, as the recent staging of a new play, Tartan, and surrounding events illustrate.

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Summer 2014

The editors of the drb, who are on a short break, hope everyone is enjoying the summer. The next issue will be at the beginning of September. There will be an expanded New Books section and fourteen review essays on subjects including Terry Eagleton's opinion on the strength of religious appeal over that of competing systems in the post enlightenment world, the greatest famine ever in communist China, the life of John Burnside, the Catholic elite in Ireland and other topics.

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Response

Bill Kautt

A letter from Bill Kautt in response to a recent review of his book: Ground Truths: British Army Operations in the Irish War of Independence.

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The Shining River

Kevin Stevens

A chapter-length extract from Kevin Stevens’s new novel, an urban crime drama about money, race, and class set in Kansas City in the 1930s.

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Response to Review

 The author  of Massacre in West Cork maintains that Gerard Murphy’s review contains many errors. The author, Barry Keane, also argues that the reviewer engages in crass speculation regarding his motives.

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Janus-Faced Europe

It is now in the interests of the EU to set about calming the bear at its door, convincing the Russians that mutual respect and trade is in everyone’s interest and that no one will benefit from a new great game conducted in Eastern Europe.

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Look! No Wheels!

The Cold War, or at least the First Cold War, is now long over. Curiously, it ended without a war. Afterwards, the US global hegemony that some predicted failed to materialise. As in other areas, victories in history don’t always amount to as much as was expected. Meanwhile the debate seeking a credible explanation for the implosion of the Soviet Union continues.

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On the Necessary Execution of a Prince

Was the recent arrest, trial and execution of North Korea's number two politician just another sign of the madness of the regime? Or was it perhaps a sign to the people that things could actually change for the better and that no one - none of 'them' - was necessarily too powerful to evade punishment?

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HAVE A NICE DAY, DAY, DAY ...

Fast food workers in the States don’t earn enough to eat ... fast food. Too bad, say the employers, what they do can easily be done by machines.

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Slim Pickings for the Soft Left

France has long been a beacon for social democrats but we may be looking at the beginning of the fall of social France. The political elites of right and left increasingly conform to Peter Mair’s idea of the cartel party, but the politically crucial fact is that they conform on the right of the spectrum.

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The Big Splatter

John Montague

What is truly dazzling in Heaney is his descriptive power, his almost hymn to a Conway Stewart fountain pen, or glimpses of his father performing a farmyard task, wrought to a hallucinatory, Van Gogh-like intensity. Like Gerard Manley Hopkins, Seamus is a mystic of the ordinary, which he renders extraordinary, though unlike Hopkins he does not leap towards God.

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Cold War Reinvented

It is more than a little depressing to contemplate the possibility that the old cold war narrative which restricted the potential of so many  individuals and peoples over the latter half of the twentieth century has given way to a new overarching narrative ‑ equally laden with oppressive potential for anyone in the way ‑ that of multipolarity versus unipolarity.

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Rich Folks’ Politics

As Wasps and similar types decline as a percentage of the US population, things don’t look great for the Republican party. But its creation of safe seats through gerrymandering has facilitated a takeover by extremists, against whom the traditional ‘country club’ moderates seem to be helpless.

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Syria, Goodbye to Diversity

Authoritarian but relatively secularist regimes in the Middle East have often been protectors of diversity. If they are destroyed, where will the region's minorities go?

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Iran and Realpolitik

In the West people generally think of the Islamic world as very ideological, and indeed it is, but the world is complex and realpolitik plays a dominant role in the Muslim sphere just as it does everywhere else.

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This is my Letter to the World

Maurice Earls

Emily’s self-seclusion was in the family tradition, as was her feeling of superiority, which she expressed in her inimitable manner. At a dinner during her visit to Boston, when presented with a flambé dessert she enquired from the judge sitting beside her, with characteristic poise, whether it was permissible in the capital of Unitarianism to eat hell fire. First published Spring 2011

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The birth of Irish democracy

Did Irish democracy develop in the 1920s in the early years of the new state or were it seeds sown a long time before?

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Home is a sad place

With his fortieth birthday the realisation came to Philip Larkin that he had done nothing with the `fat fillet-steak' part of life.

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The sentences in my head

László Krasnahorkai talks to George Szirtes about how he writes and what he reads.

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Why they went to war

Why did the soldiers join up and go to be slaughtered in France, Belgium or Gallipoli? Sometimes because the misery of their lives made them think that anything would be better.

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Paxman in Meath

The popular television presenter and historian will be lecturing next week at the Hay Festival Kells on the Great War, an event about which he has a very clear and simple idea.

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Forty days of sunshine

The Book of Kells will be joined by some other outstanding Irish manuscripts on display in Trinity College Dublin in 2016.

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A bookselling institution

The famous Foyle's bookshop in central London is moving to a spectacularly beautiful new premises just down the road from its traditional Charing Cross Road pitch.

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Something for everybody - one hopes

A hugely impressive list of guests has been put together for the Edinburgh international books festival, which runs in mid-August.

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Cruel, cruel Margaret Stackpoole

James Clarence Mangan, a lad from the Liberties, went courting a posh girl up in Ranelagh. At first things seemed to be going well ...

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If you gotta go ...

Former French prime minister Michel Rocard, in a resounding 'J'accuse!', tells the British that if they want to leave the EU they should just do that, and quickly too. Really, they've done quite enough damage inside.

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Sumer is icumen in - or not

A new book celebrates the seasons. But tell me again, how many of them are there?

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Adventures in Egypt

An episode from the early 1880s shows a young Augusta Gregory sympathising with an oppressed people and its revolutionary leaders - far from Ireland.

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Ireland's Huguenots

Ireland's Huguenot community - originally Calvinist refugees from persecution in France, produced many notable Irishmen, including Tom Lefroy, the man Jane Austen had hoped to marry, and the Gothic novelist Charles Maturin, author of Melmoth the Wanderer.

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Penguin relaunches Pelican

A hugely successful experiment in popular intellectual publishing, established in the 1930s and abandoned at the end of the Thatcherite 1980s, is being relaunched.

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Javier Cercas at Smock Alley

One of Spain's leading novelists, whose works explore memory and the attribution of good and evil to incidents of historical conflict, is visiting Dublin.

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The Peasant Poet

John Clare, the Northamptonshire peasant poet who died 150 years ago, is not getting the commemoration he deserves in Britain.

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Pater Improvidus

The life courses of two great Dublin writers of the nineteenth century, both born into the city's grocery trade, show the vastly differing outcomes that the quality of parental care may lay out for children.

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Philology: The Forgotten Origins of the Modern Humanities

Philology was for centuries synonymous with humanistic intellectual life encompassing Greek and Roman literature and indeed all other languages, literatures, histories and cultures.

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The Pillar

A new book which looks at the site of Nelson’s Pillar, what was there before the admiral arrived, what followed his departure and finally his replacement with the Spire of Light.

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Romancing Ireland: Richard Hayward, 1892-1964

Richard Hayward was one of Ireland’s best loved cultural figures in the mid twentieth century, a popular travel writer, actor and singer; he led an intense and productive life.

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The Lonesome Road

Seamus Heaney remarked that he took pleasure in the energy of Gabriel Fitzmaurice’s poems. This is a volume of his collected and new poems.


 

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British North America in the Seventeenth and Eighteenth Centuries

 In this study of British North America it is argued that, contrary to frequently encountered opinion, the Metropolitan power was of significant importance in seventeenth and eighteenth century America.

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Afterimage of the Revolution

Ascending to power after the Anglo- Irish treaty and a violent anti- British revolution, Cumann na nGaedheal governed for the first ten years of the Irish Free state.

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Coffee

Coffee is a major source of global wealth generating billions of dollars in corporate profits every year yet the majority of the world’s twenty five million coffee families live in relative poverty.

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Et Ego in Arcadia

Francis J Kelly wrote poetry throughout his adult life. He worked as a teacher of Latin and English at St Michael’s College for over thirty years.

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Representing the National Landscape in Irish Romanticism

A study of the fraught relationship between land and national identity in Ireland based on an examination of key texts from the romantic era.

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Here Are the Young Men

Set against the backdrop of Celtic Tiger Ireland, this debut novel follows Matthew, Rez, Cocker and Kearney as they face the void of their post-school lives, portraying a harbinger of the collapse of the national illusion.

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The Oxford Handbook of Modern Irish History

This handbook brings together 36 leading scholars of modern Ireland and covers 400 years of Irish history, uniting early and late modernists as well as contemporary historians.  

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Face

From a series commemorating a brother to love poems of great simplicity and truth, Brendan Cleary’s work has the uncanny ability to make the mundane astonish and the otherworldly intimate.

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